Renewable energy was a major talking point when Sweden???s Ambassador to Barbados, Claes Hammar, paid a farewell call on the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Steve Blackett, at the Ministry???s Culloden Road headquarters.

Ambassador Hammar restated the benefits Barbados stood to gain from the Swedish Energy Agency (SEA), a department under Sweden???s Ministry of the Environment.

He noted that for small island developing states, like Barbados, SEA focused on the creation of resilience in the energy sector against climatic effects; the strengthening of the energy system; and the better detection of climate changes.

Pointing out that his country was aiming to become one of the first fossil-fuel free nations and was encouraging the use of electric cars, he enquired as to Barbados??? progress in this vein.

Acknowledging that alternative energy was very much at the forefront, Mr. Blackett said: ???We are weaning ourselves off fossil fuel??? We are looking in terms of wind energy and in the private sector our electricity company, Barbados Light and Power Company, has just broken ground for a solar plant at Trents, St. Lucy.

???But we have for years been pursuing solar energy as well as other sources. Solar has been catching on with Barbadians and there are a number of incentives which Government is encouraging ??? so it is a real thrust.???

The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs added that electric cars were being encouraged and the island was considering the use of bagasse in the production of fuel.??He further stated that in some communities, about two thirds of the residents were separating their garbage, something which could soon see a deliberate policy.

The Swedish Ambassador also heard that Barbados had an excellent natural gas system that supplied about five per cent of its population, including hotel belts along the west and south coasts, with gas at reasonable rates.

The two officials also discussed matters related to Mr. Blackett???s substantive Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development. These included an impending gender policy; legislation on domestic violence; the strengthening of the Child Care Board; and care of the elderly population.

The Ambassador also sought Barbados??? support for Sweden???s candidate for the Security Council of the United Nations.

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